The 10 films with the most Oscar wins

March 11, 2022

With the 94th Academy Awards on the horizon, we wanted to take a look back on the most successful films over the last century. From record-breaking musicals to religious epics, the increasingly controversial ceremony has the power to put even the most unexpected films in the historical canon of cinema.

Here is the official list of the top ten films to have received the most Oscars, since their conception in 1929.

10. From Here To Eternity (1953)

A couple lay on a sandy beach embracing each other as the waves crash against their bodies. They are very much in love

Total Awards: 8

Total Nominations: 13

Awards won: Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra) Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed), Best Writing, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound

Though Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, and Deborah Kerr didn't win the acting categories they were nominated in, From Here to Eternity brought home an outstanding 8 Oscars at the 27th Annual Oscars Ceremony. The film follows the lives of a group of soldiers who are stationed at the Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Things take an unexpected turn when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.

9. My Fair Lady (1964)

A fashionable young lady walks alongside a distinguished gentleman that is escorting her through a crowd of wealthy acquaintances

Total Awards: 8

Total Nominations: 12

Awards won: Best Picture, Best Director (George Cukor), Best Lead Actor (Rex Harrison), Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Adaption or Treatment Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

A beloved musical in which stuck-up phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) arrogantly takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. The film was originally going to be called Lady Liza until Rex Harrison objected to a title based on the name of the female lead.

8. Gone With The Wind (1939)

A young couple from the 1860s is seen in a loving position. Thhe man is whispering sweet nothings into her ear whilst she looks to be in deep thought

Total Awards: 8 (plus an honorary award for outstanding achievement in the use of colour and the Technical Achievement Award for pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment)

Total Nominations: 13

Awards won: Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel), Best Cinematography Color, Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction.

Gone with the Wind tells the story of a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The Award for Best Art Direction was deserved, as many of the old sets in the MGM studio were set ablaze to make the fire scene more realistic, including some of the original sets for King Kong.

7. Gigi (1958)

Set in the 1900s a young male and female are seen sitting at a table with drinks by their sides. They are looking off to their side smiling at something amusing. Behind them sits a group of fashionable ladies giggling to themselves.

Total Awards: 9

Total Nominations: 9

Awards won: Best Picture, Best Director (Vincente Minnelli), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Musical Score, and Best Original Song

The musical romance, based on the 1944 novella of the same name, follows the life of playboy Gaston, who is constantly taking on new lovers. As his friend Gigi matures, he starts to see her as a possible love interest and must decide whether she is worth sacrificing his freedom. The musical also won a BAFTA, two Golden Globes and a Grammy.

6. The Last Emperor (1987)

A young boy dressed in traditional Chinese clothing for royals is seen looking at something or someone disapprovingly. Behind him stands guards and officials

Total Awards: 9

Total Nominations: 9

Awards Won: Best Picture, Best Director (Bernardo Bertolucci), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Screenplay Based On Material from Another Medium

This 1986 epic biographical drama recounts the life of China's last emperor, Puyi. Though the film begins by showing his rise to power as a young boy, it ends with his imprisonment and restoration by the Communist Party. The Last Emperor received overwhelmingly positive reviews, nabbing every Oscar it was nominated for at the 60th Academy Awards.

5. The English Patient (1996)

A male and female who look to be in their late 30s early 40s are seen in a deep conversation. One might say they're looking at each other lovingly

Total Awards: 9

Total Nominations: 12

Awards Won: Best Picture, Best Director (Anthony Minghella), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Juliette Binoche), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Sound

Based on the 1992 novel by Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient was majorly successful, bringing home nine of the 12 Oscars it was nominated for. The romantic war drama tells of a plane crash survivor (Ralph Fiennes) with severe burns who recounts his love story to Hanna (Juliette Binoche), the nurse who tends to him.

4. West Side Story (1961)

Three young boys are crouched down with their arms spread wide as they look like they're trying to catch something in the middle of a sunny day in New York City

Total Awards: 10

Total Nominations: 11

Awards Won: Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins), Best Supporting Actor (George Chakiris), Best Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound

This 1961 classic, which was reimagined by Steven Spielberg remake in 2021, won all but one of the Academy Awards it was nominated for. It is yet another romantic musical to make this list, this time surrounding lovers Maria and Tony as they find themselves entangled in the brutal rivalry between the gangs of the west side of New York.

3. Titanic (1997)

Set in the 1900s a loving couple sneak into a car on the Titanic and mess around. The girl is seen whispering sweet nothings into the guys ear

Total Awards: 11

Total Nominations: 14

Awards Won: Best Picture, Best Director (James Cameron), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Original Song, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects

The first of three films to bring home a total of 11 Academy Awards, including that of Best Picture, is this 1997 epic. The film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, tells of a rich socialite and a poor artist who meet on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic in 1912. While their romance quickly ignites, they are soon faced with trouble after the so-called unsinkable ship collides with an iceberg.  

2. Ben-Hur (1959)

Three women and two men of all different ages gather around a table as they have a drink and seem to be in a deep conversation over something troubling

Total Awards: 11

Total Nominations: 12

Awards Won: Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Charlton Heston), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Hugh Griffith), Best Art Direction, Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Special Effects, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Music in a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Sound Recording

Though the film lost to Room at the Top for Best Adapted Screenplay, it won in every other category in which it was nominated. This religious epic was adapted from Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The film contains an 11-minute chariot race, which is often thought of as one of the best Hollywood action sequences of all time.

1. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)

A group of soldiers of all different supernatural races (Elf, Dwarf, Wizard and Human) ride out of an almost demolished city ready for the final stretch of war

Total Awards: 11

Total Nominations: 11

Awards Won: Best Picture, Best Director (Peter Jackson), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

The third and final Lord of the Rings instalment entered the 76th Academy Awards in 2004 with eleven award nominations, winning every category. The scale of the production was massive, and so many extras were needed for the Battle at the Black Gate sequence (near the end of The Return of the King), that they called in members of the New Zealand Armed Forces.